The Upper Holmesburg Civic Association may join the effort to restrict the proliferation of digital billboards and their conventional counterparts, static billboards, throughout the city. The group may also take a stand against a proposal to post more advertising on the city’s unused public school buildings.
During the UHCA’s monthly meeting last Thursday, the civic group’s zoning chairman, Paul DeFinis, asked his neighbors to adopt those positions in light of recent proposals in City Council.
A bill sponsored by Councilman Bobby Henon regarding billboards passed a committee vote in November and is pending before the full council. It would block companies from erecting new billboards while allowing them to convert an existing static billboard into a digital one only if the company removes two static billboards from other locations.
Meanwhile, DeFinis said, while the city has been trying to sell many of its vacant school buildings to help close a budget deficit, other council members have proposed selling advertising space on those buildings.
The civic zoning chairman has been in contact with other anti-billboard activists, notably Mary Tracy, executive director of Scenic Philadelphia, the nonprofit group formerly known as SCRUB.
DeFinis proposed that the UHCA submit to council a letter in support of the new restrictions on billboards.
In unrelated neighborhood news, UHCA board member Tom Geisler announced that the 8th Police District had been assigned 10 new police officers and that many of those new cops have been placed on patrol in Upper Holmesburg.
Geisler represents the civic association on the 8th Police District Advisory Council and recently was elected as that body’s vice chairman. He further reported that the recently increased patrols have led to a reduction in crime in the neighborhood. The commander of the 8th district is planning to continue the patrols into 2014, Geisler said. ••